By Chuck Roberts
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public Affairs
LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, Germany -- Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) joined the ranks of Lt. Gen. Colin L. Powell, The Prisoners of War (in absentia), and Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Rhonda L. Cornum on July 23 when it received the 2012 Veterans of Foreign Wars Armed Forces Award.

The award is presented annually by the VFW to recognize extraordinary achievement by members of the Armed Forces in such a manner to reflect the highest traditions of service to the Armed Forces, the Nation and to its national security.

In presenting the award at its 113th National Convention, Richard L. DeNoyer, Commander-In-Chief of the VFW, acknowledged the selfless service and sacrifice of the LRMC staff as shown by previous award recipients such as Cornum, who became an Iraqi prisoner of war after her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down during a Feb. 1991 search and rescue mission for the pilot of a downed F-16 during the Gulf War. Cornum received the award in 2009, Powell in 1988 and The Prisoners of War (in absentia) in 1971.

"Taking care of the wounded and sick is not an easy task, and we know how taxing that can be on a caregiver," said DeNoyer. "The VFW holds Landstuhl and its staff in the highest regard for their steadfast efforts, and we hope this expresses our gratitude to all that are involved in their immensely important operation. Landstuhl Regional Medical Center provides our American communities with hope and optimism with every servicemember they are able to send home safely to their families, and for that we in the VFW, and indeed all of America, are grateful.

"We also thank you for your outstanding contributions to our nation and for your dedication to the health and well-being of United States servicemembers. The unwavering and enthusiastic employees and members of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center should be recognized for their tremendous efforts, and we hope they know how essential they are to the survival and the spirits of America's finest and their love ones at home."

In receiving the award, Col. Barbara Holcomb, LRMC commander, acknowledged the continued tremendous support the hospital receives from the VFW and her great honor in accepting the award on behalf of the LRMC staff, as well as paying homage to the Wounded Warriors they are honored to serve. More than 68,000 U.S. and coalition servicemembers have been treated at LRMC from Afghanistan and Iraq. Of those, approximately 14,000 -- the equivalency of about 20 battalions -- have been able to return to duty.

"They want to know how is my buddy and how soon can I go back," said Holcomb of the response she most often hears while visiting Wounded Warriors. "We have a tremendous Armed Forces and these young men and women that come through truly love what they're doing and love supporting the nation and fighting for what they believe in and what we all believe in."

Col. Barbara Holcomb, LRMC Commander, accepts the 2012 VFW Armed Forces Award from Richard L. DeNoyer, Commander-In-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, during the 113th VFW National Convention in Reno, Nevada. (Photo Courtesy VFW)